As Rain Pounds, Jackson County Gear Up for Flash Floods

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- The phones were ringing off the hook at the Jackson County Emergency Management office.

"OK excellent I'll let the state know. Thank you for your help on that, sir" Director, Rodney Andreasen said to one of the many callers he spoke with Monday.

"Signed" he said, as he hung up the phone. Around noon, Jackson County Commissioners signed off on a local state of emergency request.

"It allows us to act if we need to. And also, it allows us to recoup any monies that we spend" he explained.

The threat of three additional inches of rain and tornado watches tormented the county and it's 800 miles of unpaved roads.

"Our biggest concern is not what we have now but what is coming"
Andreasen said. He warned residents to steer clear of the rivers.

"There's gonna be people who want to see, this isn't something you see everyday. I'm just asking people to be careful and stay away from it."

People like Brian McDowell- who drove his jeep into about a foot or so of water on the flooded road leading to the boat ramp along the Chipola River. McDowell estimated there was about six feet of water around the actual boat ramp- roughly 250 yards from where he had parked.

McDowell said he had gone boating down the Chipola more times than he could count.

"I haven't seen it like this in years and I'm afraid it's going to get a lot worse" he said looking at the flooded river bank.

McDowell clearly didn't heed all of Andreasen's cautions, but definitely agreed with one: "Don't get in the boat like I want to do" he said. "I got thrown out of a boat one year when the river was high- hit a log."

McDowell's reality was precisely Andreasen's fear. "That water is getting swifter and you get somebody that gets swept away and gets trapped up under a log or branch and they'll drown" Andreasen warned.

The flash flooding proved to be pretty problematic for most. The Jackson County School Board decided to close all schools on Tuesday with Wednesday's decision waiting in the wings.

But one group of citizens, seemingly always concerned about the rain, this time were not alarmed- farmers.

One would think all the rain would help area growers who had been suffering from drought conditions, but Jackson County Grower's Association President, Eric Toole said that was not totally the case.

Toole told us the rain would help, though it may cause a delay for some farmers' spring planting schedule by as much as 10 days.

While he was grateful for the additional moisture, Toole said the rain would not solve all of the drought problems for farmers.

"This is not the drought buster everybody thinks it is" Toole explained. "It's filling up the streams and the ponds and the rivers but over the long term, it's going to get dry again."


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